Over the past few years I’ve made a concerted effort to watch lots of movies considered to be among the best of all time. Now, for the first time, I’ve made my own list of favorite movies of all time. Every other Wednesday throughout 2022, I will be revealing ten movies in my list of 250 Favorite Movies of All Time.
Title: Monsters, Inc.
Director: Pete Docter
Cast: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Mary Gibbs and Jennifer Tilly
When did I first watch this movie?: 2001, in the theaters
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: Pixar’s fourth feature and second masterpiece features the comedy duo of Goodman and Crystal with a completely imaginative world based on the childhood fear of monsters in the closet.
Title: The Right Stuff
Director: Philip Kaufman
Cast: Sam Shepard, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Fred Ward, Dennis Quaid, and Barbara Hershey
When did I first watch this movie?: 1984
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: I was a ten-year-old obsessed with air and space flight when this movie made its cable tv debut. Naturally I watched it a gazillion times. The sprawling story follows test pilots breaking the sound barrier to the formation of the Mercury program in the 50s, and the first American manned spaceflights in the 1960s. And it’s funny too.
Title: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Director: John Lounsbery and Wolfgang Reitherman
Cast: Sterling Holloway, John Fiedler, Junius Matthews, Paul Winchell, Howard Morris, Bruce Reitherman, Jon Walmsley, and Timothy Turner
When did I first watch this movie?: Maybe as a kid, maybe in the 90s or early 2000s
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: When my kids were small I’d put this DVD on and get a good nap, which probably doesn’t sound like an endorsement. But when I do stay awake, I love every minute of it. Even when it diverges from A.A. Milne’s work into Disney cheeze it still holds the special charm of the Hundred Acre Woods.
Title: Tales of the City
Director: Alastair Reid
Cast: Olympia Dukakis, Laura Linney, Barbara Garrick, William Campbell, Parker Posey, Marcus D’Amico, Paul Gross, Nina Foch, Cynda Williams, Chloe Webb, Thomas Gibson
When did I first watch this movie?: 1994
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: My sister introduced me to this mini-series when it first aired on PBS and I later read all of the books by Armistead Maupin several times each. The movie captures San Francisco in the 1970s, a time when no one seemed to have any secrets but it turns out they had some very deep secrets.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn and Canada Lee
When did I first watch this movie?: 2019
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: This Alfred Hitchcock thriller is set entirely in a lifeboat where a group of people try to survive after their ship is sunk by a German U-boat. The ensemble cast is lead by an amazing performance by Tallulah Bankhead.
Title: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, Denholm Elliott, Julian Glover, River Phoenix, and John Rhys-Davies
When did I first watch this movie?: 1989, in the theaters
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: The thrills and humor of Raiders of the Lost Ark return in Indiana Jones’ biggest adventure featuring the addition of Sean Connery as Indiana’s estranged father. It’s so good!
Title: When We Were Kings
Director: Leon Gast
Cast: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman , James Brown, B.B. King, Don King, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, Spike Lee and Thomas Hauser
When did I first watch this movie?: 1998, on an airplane
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: This documentary is more than just the story of a boxing match, but captures a moment in 1974 when Black liberation movements made connections with newly independent African nations. The music, the archival footage, and the enigmatic character of Ali himself make this a fascinating movie.
Title: The Wizard of Oz
Director: Victor Fleming
Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton
When did I first watch this movie?: late 70s/early 80s?
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: In my childhood, The Wizard of Oz was broadcast on TV once per year and it was always a treat! Even though the movie made some odd changes to the L. Frank Baum book it has it’s own charms and an irresistible performance by Judy Garland.
Title: Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Director:Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones
Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin
When did I first watch this movie?: 1986?
Why is this one of my all time favorites?:
My family discovered Monty Python movies sometime in the mid-90s and watched them basically in reverse order saving the best for last. I love Arthurian legend, and the Pythons send-up of Arthuriana and adventure movies is full of laughs. C’mon, you know you want to quote it right now!
Title: Eighth Grade
Director: Bo Burnham
Cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan, and Fred Hechinger
When did I first watch this movie?: 2018, in the theaters
Why is this one of my all time favorites?: This utterly guileless movie is perhaps the most honest representation of the early teenage years set to film. Elsie Fisher’s performance is amazing (why is she not a big star now?)!